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The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Thursday 12 th October) that the situation where two adults admitted to the Adult Mental Health Unit (AMHU) at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) on Tuesday (Oct. 10 th ) night had to spend the night on chairs is totally unacceptable and highlights once again the lack of adequate community mental health services in the South East.

PNA, General Secretary, Peter Hughes said accommodating patients on chairs because of the lack of beds is intolerable for patients and their families and upsetting for staff.

‘Following an incident in May when a child spent a night on a chair at the Waterford AMHU, PNA got a number of assurances from management that these situations would not be repeated. However, on Tuesday two adults had to spend the night on chairs as there were no beds to admit them to. Once again the appalling lack of investment in community mental health services is having consequences for both staff and service users at this unit which has been over capacity on nearly 20 occasions since January. Our message to management is clear - ‘This has got to stop'.'

‘It is somewhat ironic that this incident at UHW happened on Tuesday, the day of Budget 18 when the Government and Minister of State, Jim Daly announced spending of €35 m in mental health services. It is already disputed whether this announced figure includes a carry-over of €20 m from the 2017 mental health budget, but what is clear is that there must be significant investment in community services if overcrowding as experienced in UHW is to be properly addressed.'

Media contact: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535

Note to Editors :

•  The service at AMHU Waterford is licensed by the Mental Health Commission to operate a 44 bed unit but this number has increased to 48 on several occasions.

•  There is no Child and Adolescent Mental Health Beds, no Community Mental Health services as envisaged under Vision for Change , or Day Hospital facilities available in the Waterford mental health services.